Going Green - Like It Or Not Realtors, You're Next.
(Thanks for a huge assist on this post to John Teter, F.C. Tucker)

Those that work in the real estate industry have traditionally been a slow lot to respond to new ways of doing business but all of that is about to change. Market forces, timing and the realization that eco friendly practices are actually good for business are forcing changes that will redefine the process of selling property. This is not about being some wild eyed tree hugger. This is just about common sense and positive business....'doing well by doing good' as it's been described. The good old days of real estate where time, energy and money are unnecessarily wasted for the sake of continuity are coming to an end.

Despite a brief interlude in the price spike of all things fossil, it's doubtful we'll ever see gas at $1.89 again. Likewise every tool needed to conduct business that requires energy will also no doubt remain a costly outlay. Couple the sheer expense of doing business with the recent downturn in the real estate market that has reduced seller's equities and you're about to see a tectonic shift in how the business of real estate is conducted.

For starters the caravan days of dragging 30 Realtors around in the standard issue Sedan de Ville on Tuesday mornings is over. The equation is simple:

Expense + time divided by technology = sanity.

Why in the world Realtors continue to spend hundreds of dollars driving their office mates around to see new listed homes that they can readily preview on the web in 1/10th of the time is beyond me. Soon when all of my brethren wake up, they won't. Sorry sellers, those caravans accomplish almost nothing.

Why we still insist on killing tree after tree to maintain 2 inch thick property files when a simple document scan can easily store, transfer information is also beyond silly. On 9 CDs in my desk is every document signed for the last 22 months of every real estate transaction I've been involved in. When you consider the reduced cost of time, energy, personal effort and expense to keep electronic files versus paper ones, it's not hard to see where we're headed.

These are two examples of market driven techniques that are coming to the front. There are numerous others that make sense from so many perspectives:

-better distribution of online information making the search process shorter
-organization of cyber offices to reduce actual commutes to physical locations.
-more cyber communication will lead to smaller actual office space - saving energy.
-translating incoming faxes to electronic files, encouraging a paperless transaction.
-adding recycling stations at physical offices

Whether we Realtors like it or not, cost reductions in how we do business are becoming a necessity based on a number of things, namely reduced seller's equity, an increased level of ala carte competition and the inexpensive availability of new technology. The days of bricks and mortar are numbered whether the traditional real estate brokerages like it or not. The only question today is who's going to survive in this wave and who's going to fall by the side of the road in refusing to embrace the change.